NFL Nation: Monty Beisel
Kevin Kolb's arrival from Philadelphia gives the Arizona Cardinals renewed hope at quarterback and clear direction following Kurt Warner's retirement.
It provides a fresh start after a forgettable 2010 transition season for Arizona.
So much has changed for the Cardinals since their Super Bowl appearance following the 2008 season. Other rosters around the league have turned over since then, of course, but not every team was coming off a Super Bowl appearance.
Quite a few teams have sought change. For the Cardinals, it just happened.
Warner's departure, while easily the biggest change, was far from the only one. Between five and eight starters from that Super Bowl game project as starters in 2011, depending upon how many of the team's unrestricted free agents re-sign.
When Steve Breaston left the Cardinals for Kansas City this week, drawing attention to the cumulative effect of Arizona's roster upheaval, a Seahawks fan drew parallels between Seattle's post-Super Bowl decline and the Cardinals' plight last season.
"Don't misunderstand," Ricky Frey wrote on my Facebook wall, "I'm a Hawks fan, but it seems eerily familiar to watch this happen and know what happened to Holmgren/Mora. Writing on the wall?"
Not if Kolb has anything to say about it. Acquiring a relatively young, potentially ascending quarterback puts Arizona in position to avoid the decline Seattle experienced as a Matt Hasselbeck struggled with injuries while the roster around him withered away. The NFC West remains in transition overall, and the Cardinals know it.
"It’s obviously winnable, but it’s funny to think that everybody thinks you can just step in and win it," Kolb told reporters Friday. "You’re talking about NFL football teams here. I know last year 7-9 is what won it, but it doesn’t matter. ... The door is open, we know, and we’ll be ready to kick it in when it’s time, but it’s not going to be an easy task."
Larry Fitzgerald, Levi Brown, Darnell Dockett, Adrian Wilson and the recently re-signed Lyle Sendlein started for Arizona in the Super Bowl and remain starters in 2011. Another starter from that Super Bowl game, Gerald Hayes, was released this week. Three more are becoming unrestricted free agents: Deuce Lutui, Bryan Robinson and Gabe Watson.
Six Arizona starters from that game are retired or did not play last season: Mike Gandy, Warner, Edgerrin James, Terrelle Smith, Chike Okeafor and Monty Beisel. Seven more play for other teams: Reggie Wells, Leonard Pope, Anquan Boldin, Antonio Smith, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle and the recently traded Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
Some were role players. Others were tougher to replace.
Breaston was a backup on that team, but he played extensively as the third receiver and finished the season with more than 1,000 yards.
Kolb's addition headlined a flurry of transactions the Cardinals announced Thursday and Friday.
Sendlein, safety Hamza Abdullah, cornerback Michael Adams, tackle D'Anthony Batiste, center Ben Claxton, punter Ben Graham, fullback Reagan Maui'a and tight end Stephen Spach re-signed.
Five draft choices have signed. Guard Daryn Colledge, defensive end Nick Eason, tight end Jeff King, receiver Chansi Stuckey and linebacker Stewart Bradley have signed as free agents from other teams.
Re-signing Sendlein while adding Kolb, Colledge and Bradley suggests the 2011 team is still coming together, not necessarily falling apart.
They felt it, too.
Arizona finished with a 5-11 record largely because quarterback Kurt Warner retired. The team hoped it had enough veteran strength throughout its roster to keep the Cardinals competitive. A favorable schedule and division in transition made it seem possible.
Looking back, the roster turnover played a leading role in the Cardinals' fall, coach Ken Whisenhunt said from the Super Bowl media center Friday.
"What you lose more than anything is that equity buildup that you have had for a couple years," Whisenhunt said.
Specifically, Whisenhunt said the Cardinals too often couldn't draw on shared experiences -- say, adjustment that worked against an opponent the previous season.
"Even though you have a Kerry Rhodes, you have Paris Lenon, you have guys you are comfortable with that are good players in the league, they don't know what you have gone through to get to that point," Whisenhunt said. "To have those guys step up and say, 'Listen, we are not practicing the right way, we are not making these plays like we should be,' you don't have that history with them. You can get away with that if it is one or two, but if you have five or six -- especially if they are good football players -- that is hard to overcome."
The Cardinals parted with a long list of players featuring Warner, Anquan Boldin, Karlos Dansby, Antrel Rolle, Bryant McFadden, Bertrand Berry, Chike Okeafor, Mike Gandy, Reggie Wells, Neil Rackers, Anthony Becht, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban, Matt Leinart, Ralph Brown, Monty Beisel and Dan Kreider.
"You can never go in and say, 'Gosh, woe is me because we lost those guys,' because you are counting on the other guys to step in and you always want to be positive," Whisenhunt said. "But you have to recognize it's a pretty big blow to lose [key] guys."
Whisenhunt called the situation a "perfect storm" with Warner retiring, key players hitting the market and the NFL heading toward an uncertain labor situation.
"There is no operating plan for what you do or how you do it," he said. "It doesn't really matter at this point. You just have to move forward."
Quite a few younger players gained more experience than anticipated. That could help Arizona build back some of that equity Whisenhunt said was missing. But so much comes back to the quarterback situation. An upgrade at that position would cover for imperfections elsewhere on the roster.
I've addressed the subject in depth across the division -- first May 26 and again July 30 -- and it's worth another look now that teams have reduced to 53 players for the regular season.
This time, I'm going to break down the changes by position, listing players no longer on the active roster at each main position group (with new players in parenthesis). Departures outnumber replacements because some players finished last season on injured reserve, meaning they were not part of the 53-man roster.
Some players no longer on the active roster remain with the team (they could be suspended, deemed physically unable to perform or part of the practice squad).
St. Louis Rams (34 off roster)
Defensive back: Eric Bassey, Quincy Butler, Danny Gorrer, Clinton Hart, Cordelius Parks, David Roach, Jonathan Wade (added Kevin Dockery, Jerome Murphy, Darian Stewart)
Defensive line: Victor Adeyanju, Adam Carriker, Leger Douzable, Leonard Little, LaJuan Ramsey, James Wyche (added Jermelle Cudjo, Fred Robbins, George Selvie, Eugene Sims)
Linebacker: K.C. Asiodu, Paris Lenon (added Na'il Diggs, Josh Hull)
Offensive line: Roger Allen, Alex Barron, Ryan McKee, Mark Setterstrom, Phillip Trautwein, Eric Young (added Renardo Foster, Hank Fraley, Rodger Saffold)
Quarterback: Kyle Boller, Marc Bulger, Keith Null, Mike Reilly (added Sam Bradford, A.J. Feeley, Thaddeus Lewis)
Running back: Samkon Gado, Chris Ogbonnaya (added Keith Toston)
Special teams: Ryan Neill
Tight end: Randy McMichael (added Mike Hoomanawanui, Fendi Onobun)
Wide receiver: Donnie Avery, Keenan Burton, Brooks Foster, Jordan Kent, Ruvell Martin (added Mark Clayton, Dominique Curry, Mardy Gilyard)
Seattle Seahawks (33 off roster)
Defensive back: Jamar Adams, Deon Grant, Ken Lucas, Josh Wilson (added Kam Chancellor, Kennard Cox, Nate Ness, Earl Thomas, Walter Thurmond)
Defensive line: Lawrence Jackson, Patrick Kerney, Cory Redding, Nick Reed, Darryl Tapp, Craig Terrill (added Kentwan Balmer, Raheem Brock, Chris Clemons, Dexter Davis, Junior Siavii, E.J. Wilson)
Linebacker: Leroy Hill, Lance Laury, D.D. Lewis (added Matt McCoy; note that Hill is suspended for the first regular-season game)
Offensive line: Trevor Canfield, Brandon Frye, Walter Jones, Damion McIntosh, Rob Sims, Steve Vallos, Ray Willis, Mansfield Wrotto (added Stacy Andrews, Evan Dietrich-Smith, Ben Hamilton, Russell Okung, Chester Pitts, Tyler Polumbus)
Quarterback: Mike Teel, Seneca Wallace (added Charlie Whitehurst)
Running back: Justin Griffith, Louis Rankin, Tyler Roehl, Owen Schmitt (added Quinton Ganther, Michael Robinson, Leon Washington)
Special teams: Kevin Houser, Jeff Robinson (added Clint Gresham)
Tight end: John Owens (added Chris Baker, Anthony McCoy)
Wide receiver: Nate Burleson, T.J. Houshmandzadeh (added Golden Tate, Mike Williams)
Arizona Cardinals (24 off roster)
Defensive backs: Ralph Brown, Bryant McFadden, Antrel Rolle (added A.J. Jefferson, Trumaine McBride, Brandon McDonald, Kerry Rhodes)
Defensive line: Jason Banks (added Dan Williams)
Linebacker: Monty Beisel, Bertrand Berry, Cody Brown, Karlos Dansby, Gerald Hayes, Chike Okeafor, Pago Togafau (added Paris Lenon, Cyril Obiozor, Joey Porter, Daryl Washington; Hayes can return from the physically unable to perform list after six games)
Offensive line: Mike Gandy, Herman Johnson, Reggie Wells (added Alan Faneca, Rex Hadnot)
Quarterback: Matt Leinart, Brian St. Pierre, Kurt Warner (added Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton)
Running back: Justin Green, Dan Kreider (added Jerome Johnson)
Special teams: Neil Rackers (added Jay Feely)
Tight end: Anthony Becht (added Jim Dray)
Wide receiver: Anquan Boldin, Sean Morey, Jerheme Urban (added Andre Roberts, Stephen Williams)
San Francisco 49ers (24 off roster)
Defensive backs: Dre' Bly, Walt Harris, Marcus Hudson, Mark Roman (added Phillip Adams, Tramaine Brock, William James, Taylor Mays)
Defensive line: Kentwan Balmer, Derek Walker
Linebacker: Scott McKillop, Jeff Ulbrich, Matt Wilhelm (added NaVorro Bowman, Travis LaBoy)
Offensive line: Tony Pashos, Chris Patrick, Cody Wallace (added Alex Boone, Anthony Davis, Mike Iupati)
Quarterback: Nate Davis, Shaun Hill (added David Carr, Troy Smith)
Running back: Thomas Clayton, Glen Coffee, Brit Miller, Michael Robinson (added Anthony Dixon, Brian Westbrook)
Special teams: Shane Andrus, Ricky Schmitt
Wide receiver: Arnaz Battle, Isaac Bruce, Jason Hill, Brandon Jones (added Ted Ginn Jr., Kyle Williams, Dominique Zeigler)
The first chart shows how many players are back -- at least for now -- from Week 17 rosters and injured reserve lists. Seattle has the fewest number back with 26.
The second chart shows how many players each team has shed since Week 17 last season. This counts players who were on injured reserve. Teams with lots of players on injured reserve had more players to lose.
No-brainers: Veteran insider linebacker Monty Beisel had started during part of preseason and the Cardinals are lean at the position after placing Gerald Hayes on reserve/physically unable to perform. But Beisel wasn't the answer at the position and keeping him on the roster for Week 1 would have guaranteed his salary. Rookie Daryl Washington looks like he'll be starting at linebacker sooner rather than later. The Cardinals have also been pleased with veteran Paris Lenon. Reggie Walker also survived the first wave of cuts.
What’s next: The Cardinals still must release three players to conform with the 53-man limit. Matt Leinart's future remains in limbo. Coach Ken Whisenhunt told reporters Friday that he wasn't prepared to make a decision on that front just yet. The Cardinals have four quarterbacks on their roster: Derek Anderson, Max Hall, John Skelton and Leinart. That situation should shake out in the coming days. Whisenhunt said he needs to figure out whether Leinart could fit as a backup if the team decided to name Anderson its starter. "It's not so much a question of Matt and his ability to play football as it his how he fits with our team," Whisenhunt said. Update: Here's my take on Leinart, who was released Saturday.
Cardinals players cut:
QB Matt Leinart
LB Stevie Baggs
TE Anthony Becht
LB Monty Beisel
LB Cody Brown
DE Jeremy Clark
DE John Fletcher
CB Trevor Ford
WR Ed Gant
OL Herman Johnson
WR Mike Jones
WR Onrea Jones
CB Justin Miller
OL Jonathan Palmer
OL Tom Pestock
FB Charles Scott
WR Isaiah Williams
In the meantime, a few odds and ends:
Traded guard Reggie Wells to Philadelphia; released tight end Anthony Becht; released linebacker Steve Baggs; released linebacker Monty Beisel; apparently informed receiver Max Komar he made the initial 53-man roster; apparently did not tell quarterback Matt Leinart about his status to this point; scheduled a news conference for 6 p.m. ET (but nothing significant on Leinart is expected at that time).
San Francisco 49ers
Released running back Michael Robinson, released fullback Brit Miller; released fullback Jehuu Caulcrick; released receiver Jason Hill; released receiver Kevin Jurovich; released offensive lineman Cody Wallace; released defensive lineman Khalif Mitchell; released tight ends Tony Curtis and J.J. Finley; released linebacker Bruce Davis; released cornerback Karl Paymah.
No known moves to this point; Seattle waited until Saturday to announce its cuts last season.
St. Louis Rams
No known moves to this point; the Rams also waited until Saturday last season.
The list of available inside linebackers with experience in 3-4 schemes appears weak.
I see none worth strong consideration on the updated list of unrestricted free agents, which I'll make available shortly.
Unrestricted free agents: TE Anthony Becht, LB Monty Beisel, LB Bertrand Berry (retired), LT Jeremy Bridges, CB Ralph Brown, LB Karlos Dansby, LT Mike Gandy, FB Dan Kreider, WR Sean Morey, LB Chike Okeafor, K Neil Rackers, NT Bryan Robinson, QB Brian St. Pierre, S Matt Ware.
Restricted free agents: SS Hamza Abdullah, WR Steve Breaston, G Ben Claxton, FB Justin Green, LG Deuce Lutui, TE Ben Patrick, TE Lyle Sendlein, TE Stephen Spach, WR Jerheme Urban, NT Gabe Watson.
Franchise player: none
What to expect: The Cardinals generally do not pursue marquee free agents from other teams. That trend figures to continue. The Cardinals have too many of their own free agents to re-sign for them to worry about chasing other teams' castoffs. We might see Arizona plug the roster with a few lower-tier free agents. They had success doing that last offseason, particularly with Becht at tight end. Dansby leads the list of 2009 starters expected to depart.
St. Louis Rams
Unrestricted free agents: QB Kyle Boller, DE James Hall, SS Clinton Hart, LB Paris Lenon, DE Leonard Little, LS Chris Massey, TE Randy McMichael.
Restricted free agents: S Eric Bassey, S Craig Dahl, TE Daniel Fells, LS Ryan Neill, DT Clifton Ryan, CB Jonathan Wade, DE Victory Adeyanju, FS Oshiomogho Atogwe, T Alex Barron, RB Sam Gado, DT Gary Gibson, WR Ruvell Martin, G Mark Setterstrom.
Franchise player: none
What to expect: The Rams could be in the market for a veteran quarterback such as Chad Pennington. Beyond quarterback, coach Steve Spagnuolo said the Rams could use a little more seasoning in the form of veteran role players. The Rams will remain a young team, but they could add some experience. The team parted with players fitting that profile last offseason, but most had inflated salaries. The ones St. Louis adds this year figure to carry lower price tags in most cases. The Rams have said they want Little and Hall back. McMichael figures to be gone.
Unrestricted free agents: WR Nate Burleson, FB Justin Griffith, LS Kevin Houser, LB D.D. Lewis, CB Ken Lucas, T Damion McIntosh, S Lawyer Milloy, DE Cory Redding, LS Jeff Robinson.
Restricted free agents: T Brandon Frye, WR Ben Obomanu, LB Lance Laury, G Rob Sims, G Chris Spencer, DE Darryl Tapp.
Franchise player: K Olindo Mare
What to expect: The Seahawks are a little difficult to figure. Their owner has the money to bankroll aggressive spending if Seattle chooses to go that route. Coach Pete Carroll surely realizes the team could use talent upgrades. The new general manager, John Schneider, comes from the Ted Thompson school of personnel. Thompson's aversion for free agency is well established, although Schneider has characterized himself as slightly more aggressive. The problem, of course, is finding good players on the market. Burleson will hit the market. He could return if the price is right. Carroll has said nice things about Redding, who should be affordable.
San Francisco 49ers
Unrestricted free agents: WR Arnaz Battle, CB Dre Bly, CB Walt Harris, T Tony Pashos, FS Mark Roman, T Barry Sims, LB Jeff Ulbrich (retired), LB Matt Wilhelm.
Restricted free agents: LG David Baas, LB Ahmad Brooks, CB Marcus Hudson.
Franchise player: NT Aubrayo Franklin
What to expect: The 49ers have largely turned their back on free agency now that they feel better about their roster. I would expect the team to lay low again when the signing period begins late Thursday night on the West Coast.
An early look at the free-agent situation in the NFC West.
Note: These projected lists reflect notable unrestricted free agents for each team. The NFL will not issue an official list of free agents until the signing period begins March 5.
Key figures: The more than $17.7 million Arizona has paid to Dansby over the past two seasons should suffice as a parting gift if, as expected, the linebacker leaves in free agency. Dansby could be leading an exodus. Okeafor turns 34 in March and could be on his way out. Berry announced his retirement. Morey has had concussion problems. Gandy's return probably depends on whether he's willing to stay for less than the $5 million he earned last season. Safety Antrel Rolle does not appear on the list, but he would hit the market when free agency begins if the Cardinals decline to pay a $4 million roster bonus.
San Francisco 49ers
Unrestricted free agents: WR Arnaz Battle, CB Dre' Bly, NT Aubrayo Franklin, CB Walt Harris, RT Tony Pashos, FS Mark Roman, LT Barry Sims, LB Jeff Ulbrich, LB Matt Wilhelm, CB Keith Smith.
Key figures: The 49ers have been proactive in re-signing their own players. That explains why relatively few big names appear on this list. The franchise tag appears well suited for Franklin, the only marquee UFA on the 49ers' list this offseason. Tagging Franklin at the $7 million franchise rate makes sense heading into labor uncertainty. Why spend lavishly on a long-term deal? Franklin has played at a high level consistently for only one season, and a lockout could keep him off the field in 2011. Re-signing Sims for depth would make sense. Ulbrich, meanwhile, has retired and joined the Seahawks' coaching staff.
Unrestricted free agents: DE Cory Redding, CB Ken Lucas, K Olindo Mare, LB D.D. Lewis, FB Justin Griffith, LT Damion McIntosh, SS Lawyer Milloy, LS Kevin Houser, LS Jeff Robinson.
Key figures: New coach Pete Carroll is on the record saying he likes what he's seen from Redding. Mare is coming off an outstanding season. Lucas has the size Seattle's new leadership wants in its cornerbacks. Milloy played for Carroll in New England. There isn't much more to say about this relatively nondescript group, and it's unclear how much the new regime will value these UFAs. Unrestricted free agency isn't the only road out of Seattle this offseason. The team will probably part with a few established players who haven't lived up to their salaries because of injuries and other factors. Patrick Kerney and Deion Branch come to mind.
St. Louis Rams
Unrestricted free agents: DE Leonard Little, DE James Hall, LB Paris Lenon, QB Kyle Boller, S Clinton Hart, LS Chris Massey, TE Randy McMichael.
Key figures: Boller, 28, is the only player on the Rams' list younger than 30. Franchise player Oshiomogho Atogwe and starting tackle Alex Barron become only restricted free agents under rules governing the uncapped year, explaining their absence from the Rams' UFA list. It's unclear how seriously Little and Hall figure into the team's plans for 2010. Chris Long's emergence late last season should make it easier for the team to move on without them, but the aging defensive ends did combine for 27 starts and 11 sacks last season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Engram still has something left to give at age 36. His receiving numbers were way down last season, but that reflected the Seahawks' overall struggles as much as anything. I just wonder how well Engram will fare in a new system with a new quarterback. Matt Hasselbeck trusted him implicitly in Seattle. They had a terrific rapport. That is now irrelevant.
Beisel helps the Chiefs because he knows the defense Clancy Pendergast is installing. The Cardinals re-signed Clark Haggans and they figure to draft a linebacker. Beisel's future with the Cardinals appeared tenuous even last season.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
The Cardinals have re-signed four of their own unrestricted free agents after Clark Haggans accepted a three-year deal.
The other NFC West teams have each re-signed two UFAs.
Haggans, 32, provides depth and leadership at linebacker. He is also coming off a foot injury that ended his 2008 season early.
The chart lists the Cardinals' linebackers from oldest to youngest.
Chike Okeafor's ability to stay healthy proved important for Arizona last season. He started 16 games after missing the 2007 season. He previously had not missed a game since 2001.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Tracking free-agent visits can become a part-time job during the initial rush of free agency. Now that things have settled, I've put together an unofficial list showing where NFC West free agents have visited and which players the division's teams have visited with.
These visits fall into four basic categories:
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Nine of the Cardinals' scheduled unrestricted free agents are at least 30 years old.
Only the Patriots (13) and Broncos (nine) have as many 30-plus players scheduled to hit the market when the signing period opens. The Rams and Seahawks are close behind with eight apiece. The 49ers have only three.
Antonio Smith is the Cardinals' only clearly ascending unrestricted free agent still in his 20s. The chart ranks the Cardinals' unrestricted free agents from oldest to youngest, with ages rounded down to the tenth.
J.J. Arrington can be an effective player in a change-of-pace role. The Cardinals liked what he brought to their four-receiver package at times last season, as detailed here.
Two players on the list started at least half the games last season: Kurt Warner and Smith.
Posted by ESPN.com's Pat Yasinskas
TAMPA, Fla. -- I'm pretty sure the family of Arizona linebacker Monty Beisel just arrived at Raymond James Stadium.
Didn't have a chance to confirm it with them before they started heading up the ramp. But I'm willing to bet they have to be Beisel's family because the chances of four random people walking into the stadium wearing Beisel jerseys at the same time has to be incalculable.
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Dan Bickley of the Arizona Republic says the Cardinals fared well at Super Bowl XLIII media day.
Paola Boivin of the Arizona Republic didn't flinch when a reporter dressed in drag asked to borrow her lipstick. Cardinals linebacker Monty Beisel also rolled with the media day madness.
Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic leads his notebook with an item about Anquan Boldin's contract situation.
Also from Somers: a look at the Cardinals' offensive tackles, who face tough work Sunday.
Craig Harris of the Arizona Republic says Kurt Warner's wife knows the Super Bowl routine.
Doug Haller of the Arizona Republic checks in with Cardinals punter Ben Graham, the first Australian to play in a Super Bowl.
Bob McManaman of the Arizona Republic feels the presence of Steelers fans at Super Bowl XLIII.
Also from McManaman: Darnell Dockett's tattoos tell a personal history.
Darren Urban of azcardinals.com looks at the Cardinals-related story lines at media day.
Also from Urban: a look ahead at the off-field moves facing Arizona.
More from Urban: the team's online Super Bowl headquarters.
Mike Tulumello of the East Valley Tribune explores Edgerrin James' strange Cardinals journey.
Also from Tulumello: This isn't the Cardinals' first week-long road trip to the East Coast this season.
Scott Bordow of the East Valley Tribune details Larry Fitzgerald's Pittsburgh ties.
Also from Bordow: Cardinals coaches might say there's nothing personal in facing their former team, but Bordow isn't buying it.
Pete1020 of Revenge of the Birds sizes up key matchups in Super Bowl XLIII.
Ray Ratto of the San Francisco Chronicle says the 49ers' prolonged search for an offensive coordinator does not reflect well on head coach Mike Singletary. Ratto: "Singletary has reached the outer limit of what passes for due diligence on this job search. Whether the impetus is his or those of the candidates, he looks like he is too hard to please ... unless he is simply not a very good salesman. Maybe he drops his pants when he's trying to sell the salary and benefits package."
Matt Maiocco of the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat says former 49ers receiver Billy Wilson, who died Tuesday, fell short of the Hall of Fame despite Bill Walsh's efforts.
Also from Maiocco: Hue Jackson appears to be the frontrunner to become the 49ers' offensive coordinator. Michael Johnson, who interviewed to coach quarterbacks, left the Ravens' staff after the 2007 season when new coach John Harbaugh decided to hire 49ers castoff Jim Hostler instead.
Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee says people told Wilson he was the most qualified person not enshrined in Canton.
Eric Williams of the Tacoma News Tribune catches up with former Seahawks Jerheme Urban and Chike Okeafor. Both have contributed to the Cardinals' Super Bowl run. Okeafor: "I'm not a, 'I told you so,' and 'this and that' [kind of guy]. Those things seem to work themselves out. I just play the game like a kid at recess, for the love the game."
John Morgan of Field Gulls continues his look at free agents of interest for Seattle. Bengals receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh is in the spotlight this time.
Rob Staton of Seahawks Draft Blog looks at potential Seattle draft choices and whether they meet standards outlined by general manager Tim Ruskell.
Bryan Burwell of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch says a Rams statue honoring the team's Super Bowl championship is long overdue. Burwell: "I bring this up now because the local artist who sculpted all those familiar bronze masterpieces in front of Busch has been trying to get a similar project off the ground for football for more than six years. Now, Harry Weber has grown tired of running into one frustrating roadblock after another."
Jim Thomas of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains, among other things Rams-related, why the Rams probably would not consider a middle linebacker with the second overall choice. Thomas: "You just don't pay $50 million for a guy, if he's sitting on the bench on second-and-long and third-and-long because he can't cover his shadow."
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Week 6 generally isn't the time for sweeping proclamations, but it's time to state the obvious.
The Arizona Cardinals will reach 10 victories and host a playoff game this season.
"What a great environment in the stadium today," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "Fans were fantastic. This was what a playoff game feels like. Just a good total team win for us, which is nice to see.
"And I guess we're pretty good at home, too."
That last part was what this game was about for Arizona: establishing itself as a team that protects its home turf even when the other team has more talent and the breaks aren't going its way.
The Cardinals have knocked off Buffalo and Dallas at University of Phoenix Stadium in consecutive weeks. It's tough to find a likely home defeat on the Cardinals' schedule beyond a Nov. 23 home date with the Giants.
Eleven teams won at least 10 games last season. Seven went 7-1 and one was 8-0 at home. The three exceptions -- Indianapolis, Jacksonville and Tennessee -- beat up on one another in the rugged AFC South.
The Cardinals are 4-2 overall and 3-0 at home. Their opening-game victory at San Francisco bought them early insurance. Four of their remaining games come against division rivals with a combined record of 4-12. Losing back-to-back games against the Washington Redskins and New York Jets doesn't look as bad as it did at the time.
"We talked about going on the East Coast trips and obviously it didn't go well for us from the win-lost record, but I think it made us a mentally stronger team and I think that showed up today," Whisenhunt said.
Ten other things we learned from the Cardinals' victory:
1:00 PM ET Miami Buffalo 1:00 PM ET Minnesota Cincinnati 1:00 PM ET Indianapolis Kansas City 1:00 PM ET Tampa Bay St. Louis 1:00 PM ET Cleveland New York 1:00 PM ET Dallas Washington 1:00 PM ET New Orleans Carolina 1:00 PM ET Tennessee Jacksonville 1:00 PM ET Denver Houston 4:05 PM ET New York Detroit 4:05 PM ET Arizona Seattle 4:25 PM ET Pittsburgh Green Bay 4:25 PM ET Oakland San Diego 4:25 PM ET New England Baltimore 8:30 PM ET Chicago Philadelphia